CIS 761. Database Management Systems

Spring 2007 Syllabus

Course Home page The Captain's log gives up-to-date information about what has been covered so far and what is expected to happen in the near future. We shall also use K-State Online, primarily to report grades.

There also is a mailing list with the address cis761-l HAT listserv dot ksu dot edu for questions and issues of general interest.

Where, When, Who?


127 Nichols Hall, MWF 2:30-3:20PM.


Torben Amtoft, tamtoft HAT ksu dot edu,, 219C Nichols Hall, ph. 532-7917.
Office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 1pm-2pm, and by appointment.

Teaching assistant

Raja Sanjeev Nakka, raja HAT ksu dot edu, room no 19.
Office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 2pm-3pm, and by appointment.


Abraham Silberschatz and Henry F. Korth and S. Sudarshan, Database System Concepts, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-295886-3. This text is available in the KSU Union Bookstore. The book has a web page at

Course objectives

At the conclusion of the course, students should have a good understanding of many advanced concepts necessary for designing, using, and implementing database systems.


In principle, you should have taken CIS 560, but it is enough that you have a bit of familiarity with databases, in particular know basic SQL. Also, you should have a bit of mathematical background, in particular be familiar with reasoning about sets. If you do not meet these requirements, you should see the instructor immediately.

Tentative Course Outline

Chapter 1 (1 class)
The Relational Model
Chapter 2 (3 classes)
Chapters 3 & 4 (5 classes)
Other Relational Languages
Chapter 5 (4 classes)
Design and the ER model
Chapter 6 (3 classes)
Relational Database Design
Chapter 7 (7 classes)
Application Design
Chapter 8 (2 classes)
Data Mining and Information Retrieval
Chapters 18 & 19 (5 classes)
Indexing and Hashing
Chapters 11&12 (3 classes)
Query Processing and Optimization
Chapters 13&14 (4 classes)
Transaction Management
Chapters 15&16 (&17) (4 classes)
Database-System Architectures
Chapter 20 (1 class)

Grading and Exams

There will be assignments due for most weeks, usually minor but there might also be one or more substantial projects. Late assignments will not be accepted except for documented medical or family emergencies. (If you hand in your assignment to the front office, please make sure that they stamp not only the date but also indicate the time of day!)
In addition to the final, there will be a midterm, perhaps spread over two classes.
The final counts 35%, the midterm counts 30%, the homework counts 25%, class participation counts 10%.
There is no fixed scheme for the conversion of numerical grades to actual letter grades. I hope that most grades will be either A or B, but in order to get an A, your work should be such that I wouldn't mind having you as a teaching assistant next year!

In general, I my approach to grading is expressed well by this piece by S.A. Miller. Let me quote (encouraging you to read the whole thing!)

Test scores tend to be low in my classes. Nineties are rare. Class averages may be in the 60% range. I am not alarmed by apparently low numbers, but they do tend to worry conscientious students who are conditioned to think in terms of 90% = A, 80% = B, etc. This can undermine class morale, and low class morale can undermine student ability. That does concern me, so I offer some suggestions for dealing with these anxieties.

How to deal with the anxieties: Evaluate your standing in terms of what your class is doing. Where are you relative to the class mean? For example, if you have a 72% average, but the class average is 52%, you are doing better than your score might suggest to you. Adding 20 to each number would make the class average a traditional 72% and give you a very respectable 92%. This is a form of "curving" you can do for yourself with each examination. Simply look at the class mean (which is always presented) and adjust it to fall into the 70% range then apply the same correction factor to your score or cumulative average. You can do this in any of your classes if basic information is provided.

Policies on Academic Conduct

You are very welcome to discuss the course material, as well as specific questions, with your fellow students. However, all submitted answers must be your own work: you are not allowed to show your answers to anyone else, or look at the answers of any other student; neither are you allowed to solicit the Internet for solutions to specific homework problems. Please refer to the KSU Campus Phone book which contains the Student Life Handbook. You are governed by these guidelines and procedures. I very much hope that it will not be necessary to file any honor pledge violation reports during the semester!


If you think that the instructor or the TA has made an oversight when grading your test or your homework, you are of course very welcome to ask for clarification. But complaints about judgment calls, like how much credit to give for a partially correct solution, are not encouraged---it is like arguing balls and strikes. In particular this holds for homeworks (since each assignment carries so little weight towards the final grade).

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you have any condition, such as a physical or learning disability, which will make it difficult for you to carry out the work as the instructor has outlined it or which will require academic accommodations, please notify the instructor in the first two weeks of the course.

Acknowledgment and notice of copyright

This syllabus, and much of the material used in the course, is adapted from the one taught by Maria Zamfir Bleyberg. During this course students are prohibited from selling notes to or being paid for taking notes by any person or commercial firm without the express written permission of the professor teaching this course.

Torben Amtoft